How to add a table of contents in a Word document to help organize and summarize it

business woman typing on laptop in home office with documents beside her
It’s easy to add a table of contents in Microsoft Word to organize your document.

  • You can add a table of contents in Word to make your document look more professional and well-developed.
  • Word allows you to insert a table of contents in the program or through Word for the web.
  • The table of contents is based on heading types so you have to enter or modify headline text using heading types to produce the table.
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A table of contents adds a degree of formality and professionalism to any document, whether it’s a book report or a client proposal.

By organizing your document by its headings and content, you not only allow the person reading it to get a summary of your major points, you also allow people to jump right to the text they want to read.

You can easily add a table of contents in Microsoft Word from the Word desktop app or web client.

How to add a table of contents in Word on the desktop app

1. Note that the table of contents automatically generates based on headlines. When you write headlines, make sure to click on a headline style: Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. If you already wrote your article, highlight each heading manually in your document and click on the heading types under Styles.

Screenshot of Word desktop app Styles section in toolbar
The table of contents will be generated based on heading font types.

2. Click your cursor where you want to insert the table of contents.

3. In the toolbar at the top of the document, click on the References tab.

4. On the left side of the References toolbar, click on Table of Contents.

5. Click on the automatically generated table of contents type you want.

Screenshot of Word desktop app automatic table of contents styles
On the left, choose a style for your table of contents.

6. The table of contents is now in your document.

How to add a table of contents using the Word for the web

1. Open the document in your OneDrive on Word for the web. If it is not already in there, click on Upload in OneDrive to add your document to your OneDrive.

2. Place your cursor where you want to insert the table of contents.

3. In the toolbar at the top of the document, click the References tab.

4. Click on Table of Contents.

5. In the drop-down, click on Insert Table of Contents. This will function similarly to how it works in Word.

Screenshot of Word on the web "insert table of contents" button
Click on “Insert Table of Contents” and it will generate a table of contents.

6. You can also edit the table of contents by clicking on References and then Table of Contents. This will also allow you to delete the table of contents.

Screenshot of table of contents inserted in Word on the web
Once you’ve added a table of contents, you can edit or delete it by clicking the “Table of Contents” drop-down.

How to remove a table of contents in Word

1. In the Word desktop program, click on the table of contents you want to remove.

2. Click on the Table of Contents submenu in the References tab.

3. Scroll down to and click on Remove Table of Contents.

Screenshot of Word desktop app "remove table of contents" option
Removing a table of contents is easy to do by clicking on the Table of Contents submenu.

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